Your browser (Internet Explorer 6) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.
X
Post

Fabulous Fabrics…it’s all in the mix

Fabric Post

Getting a new box of crayons in my Christmas stocking was my very favourite present. Carefully I would open the lid, breathe in that new crayon smell and admire those 64 gorgeous colours. It would take me about a week before I was actually ready to use them. First I had to make colour combinations. I would put the purple beside the red (daring), line up all the different shades of green (monochromatic), and decide if I liked pink better with blue or orange. There were so many colour combinations and I loved them all. It’s no surprise that I gravitated toward interior design.

Working with fabrics is probably the favourite part of our job. There is something so satisfying about putting different colours and textures together. When it’s done well, it immediately elevates a room from nice to show-stopping.  Many times we’ve made a ho-hum room fabulous by loading up with exquisite  cushions.

Fabric Post2

It’s not just the colour combination that’s important, it’s also the textures. Rooms need differing textures, but they still have to blend. It’s especially important when working with whites and creams. Think smooth, chunky, small pattern, stripe, herringbone and tweed.  It’s also important to have different shades of white, ivory and cream for an interesting look.

Fabric Post3

Fabric Post4

When putting a room together, we like to add a pop of colour. A look isn’t complete until we throw in that something extra, that bit of colour that doesn’t necessarily match, but really stands out. Sometimes it’s hard for homeowners to be that bold. A few weeks ago, Debbie and I were at Homesense getting some Italian sheets for a client. As I was talking to Debbie, I could see her attention focusing on the basket of a fellow shopper. Trance-like, Debbie whispers, ‘I can’t let her do it, Karen. I can’t let her buy those cushions and lamps because they’re just so blah. They won’t look nice in her home.” So off she went to make a new friend and get a pop of colour in that shopping basket!

Lately we’ve been using different shades of red. Scarlet, raspberry, coral, burgundy and carmine are happy colours and can be added to most colour schemes. A little red goes a long way though, so be cautious. Red feature walls are never a good idea for a family home. They may look okay in a restaurant or office, but are really hard to live with.

Fabric Post5

Most times a colour should be repeated at least three times in a room. Sometimes though it’s okay to just put one stand out pop of colour. In the photo above on the left, imagine how great a few toss cushions in pumpkin orange would look. It’s just that touch of  “I’m not trying too hard!”

Fabric Post6

As much as we like colour and pattern, I don’t mind using great neutrals for large items. The chair below is done in a beautiful textured work horse fabric. It might seem a boring choice when you consider all the options, but that’s the beauty of it. The choice for cushions, throws, draperies and area rugs is wide open.

Fabric Post7

Beautiful fabrics can cost a beautiful price, but we think it’s money well spent. The luxurious feel of quality fabrics really is worth it. However, not every fabric in a room has to be best quality. It’s that old trick of mixing low and high. A few high end pieces will make everything look great.

Fabric Post8

Most of the fall fabric collections have come into the showrooms now. What impresses me the most is that there is so much variety. If there is one look, it seems to be an ‘anything goes’ attitude. Colours are warming up slightly, but there really is something for everyone. I’m hopeful that this trend of not being stuck on one look stays.

Fabric Post9

I feel colour affects us so much, that we absolutely need to surround ourselves with fabrics that bring out the best in us. Think of beautiful fabrics as a tonic for the soul.

 


If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.

Karen Fron Interior Design is a Calgary based design firm. We believe that a well functioning and beautiful home makes life better. It’s not about how much you have, it’s about using what you have to create beauty.

Subscribe1

Post

European Influence – Herringbone Tile

We’ve been working on a design style for one of our clients this week. They are the most gracious, elegant and classic couple. We want their home to be a true reflection, so we’ve been researching timeless patterns for flooring, wallpaper and fabric. You know me…I love this history stuff…in great detail. However, I’ll condense my notes and give you the short version. Taegan took a bunch of pictures when she was in Europe, so you’ll get some pretty pictures too.

Herringbone
In around 500 B.C. the Roman Empire developed an expansive road system called Viae Publicae which stretched for 50,000 miles. Considering all the advances in technology and construction, we still use their basic principals of interlocking patterns. Criss-crossing pavers absorb the compression of movement and become very strong and able to handle huge loads. In fabric, this pattern can be traced back to Egyptian textiles where again the use of criss-crossing threads made for a strong fabric. There are very early examples of native cultures employing zig-zag weaves to create strong waterproof baskets. So a beautiful pattern started as an effective design solution in many cultures.
Herringbone2
Which brings us to the types of criss-crossing patterns…chevron and herringbone. Chevron is a zig-zag pattern that comes to sharp point. Herringbone resembles a broken zig-zag, and the points do not come sharply together. They are both classic patterns, but I find that herringbone is a little softer, so I usually specify chevron for more modern applications.
Herringbone3

 

 

Herringbone4

 

 

Herringbone5

 

 

HerringbonePost3

 

 

HerringbonePost2

 

 

HerringbonePost
When picking the fixed elements of design, it’s important to know your history! While we all like to be current, don’t go all trendy on the big expensive stuff. Keep it basic and classic. Look to the past for inspiration and you can’t go wrong. Keep the fun trends to the top layer…and switch that out when it becomes so last year.

If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.

Karen Fron Interior Design is a Calgary based design firm. We believe that a well functioning and beautiful home makes life better. It’s not about how much you have, it’s about using what you have to create beauty.

Subscribe1

Post

Art Nouveau- the new and old

When I was in school studying Interior Design, we took a lot of courses about art history and furniture design. I loved these classes. My art history teacher would say that art tells the true story of the world. It’s a peek into the culture and the way civilizations before us lived.

When our Junior Designer, Taegan, went to Europe, she saw so many beautiful works of art, grand buildings and exquisite details everywhere, her camera couldn’t keep still. Maybe because in Calgary she’s been exposed to square box buildings and get- it-built-move-on-to-the-next-architecture, she was captivated by the Art Nouveau style.

Here’s a brief gallery of her Art Nouveau photos.

ArtNouveauPost

ArtNouveauPost3

Etsy
Etsy

If you’re an art history geek like me, you’ll want to read up on all the details of the Art Nouveau movement; how it incorporates the cycle of birth, decay and death, it’s subtle negative portrayal of women as menacing and scandalous, how Sigmund Freud influenced the style and how the Art Nouveau style reemerged in the late 1960′s with psychedelic artwork for rock concert posters and album covers.

If you’re more normal, and maybe just intrigued by the sensuous sweeping lines of the style, below are some modern day inspirations to work the style into your home.

 

Brennon Braud
Brennon Braud

 

artnouveau.soup.io
artnouveau.soup.io

ArtN

ArtN4

ArtN3

ArtN5

If you want to seem like a real expert on this style, just remember that Art Nouveau is known for it’s sweeping curves and flowing linear lines. And don’t confuse Art Deco with Art Nouveau…two separate decorative arts. Maybe a post for another day?


If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.

Karen Fron Interior Design is a Calgary based design firm. We believe that a well functioning and beautiful home makes life better. It’s not about how much you have, it’s about using what you have to create beauty.

Subscribe1

Image

Nail the details

Nail the details

Nailhead trim on furniture is hip and funky! Hard to believe that this detail is 400 years old. It looks modern and sexy, and is showing up in lots of new applications to create bold looks.

via graham and green

The use of nailhead trim dates back to the period of 1560-1643 with the rise of French Country Style during the reign of Louis XIII.

via hickory chair

Today nailheads are paired with contemporary fabrics and bold colours for a sophisticated look.

via hickory chair

Both upholstery and case goods are showing off their studs these days. The formal lines of the furniture can be outlined, but we are also seeing nailheads used to create bold artistic designs.

via Horchow

Many furniture manufacturers allow customization using nailheads. As well, nailhead trim can be added as a DIY project.

via lee industries
Whatever your choice, get some nailhead in your home. It’s like jewelry for your furniture!


If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.

Aside

Wallpaper is cool again

After a short hiatus, wallpaper is back in fashion. We should have seen this coming as wallpaper has a long interesting history.

via prestigioustextiles.com

In the middle ages the elite class hung tapestries on their walls. This added colour as well as much needed insulation. Less well off members of the upper-class turned to wallpaper to brighten their rooms.

via prestigioustextiles.com

Early wallpaper featured scenes similar to those depicted on tapestries. Some early wallpapers were even hung loose to mimic the look of a tapestry.

via prestigioustextiles.com
via prestigioustextiles.com

During the Protectorate, under Oliver Cromwell, the manufacture of wallpaper was seen as frivolous and was halted. Following the restoration of Charles II, the lure of wallpaper was as strong as ever and wealthy people all across England began decorating with it again.

via prestigioustextiles.com

The development of the steam-powered printing press in Britain in 1813 allowed manufacturers to mass produce wallpaper. Thus its price was reduced and wallpaper became affordable to working class people. It was a cheap effective way to brighten up cramped and dark rooms.

 William Morris was one of the most influential designers of wallpaper and fabrics during the latter half of the Victorian period. Although he believed in ‘art for all’, his wallpapers were expensive and there wasn’t much uptake. However, he has had a long lasting effect on wallpaper design and his papers continue to be popular. Charles Francis Annesley Voysey  was an Arts and Crafts architect who also designed fabrics, tiles, ceramics, and wallpapers. His style combined simplicity with sophistication. His wallpapers feature stylised bird and plant forms in bold outlines with flat colours. Many of his designs still remain in print.

via prestigioustextiles.com

During the late 1980’s, wallpaper fell out of favour in lieu of faux painting. Now we’re seeing wallpaper show up in stylish homes, often as a feature wall. The patterns are big and bold and the colour choices are simply beautiful.

via prestigioustextiles.com

Consider adding wallpaper to your home. Email me if you would like to see some of the newest and stylish patterns. Seems our love of wallpaper can only be suppressed for so long. So go ahead, enjoy this inexpensive way to bring colour, texture and pattern to your walls.



If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.

Image

An old fav…Small kitchens with big style

An old fav…Small kitchens with big style

We’re programmed to think bigger is better. This isn’t always the case when it comes to design. Often what happens with bigger is the details get overlooked.

via dwell.com

This small kitchen is designed for function. It has everything that a kitchen needs, as well as beautiful details.

via dwell.com

When designing a smaller space, every inch counts. Nothing is by chance.

via dwell.com

“The details are not the details. They make the design.”
Charles Eames

Good words to remember.

If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.

Post

Update to timeless design – before & after

Jackie Blog
The decision was made and they were going to stay in the house. The kids were older, living at home only for the summers, but the space still worked. What was needed was an update. New flooring, furniture, paint and a redo of the fireplace. It was also a chance to set up the home to function for the way they lived now.

The homeowners were eager to embrace some new ideas and move outside their comfort zone. They wanted a calm, neutral palette that would be soothing. The kitchen and living room receive a lot of sunlight, so it’s always bright and cheery. This allowed us to use a fairly monochromatic palette.

JackieBlog32
JackieBlog33

On the first visit we discussed the necessity of three eating areas – kitchen table, kitchen island and dining room. It made sense to keep the dining room because the kids aren’t home all the time and when they are, meals turn into a dinner party.

Jackie Blog2JackieBlog4

When it’s just the two of them, the homeowners enjoy eating at the island. They also like grabbing a light meal or coffee in the lounge chairs where their kitchen table used to be. We debated whether to do a small bistro table or an upholstered bench. Being able to put the feet up won over a place to put a plate.

JackieBlog2
When it came time to design the fireplace, we took the tiles straight up to the ceiling. This keeps it sleek and modern looking. After years of struggling with what to put on the mantle, the homeowner was happy not to have one.

JackieBlog3
We really enjoyed working with this couple and giving them a space that suits their life now. For me, the most important part of the design process is to find out how the homeowners live and give them a space that reflects this.


If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.

Karen Fron Interior Design is a Calgary based design firm. We believe that a well functioning and beautiful home makes life better. It’s not about how much you have, it’s about using what you have to create beauty.

Inbox

Post

Bon Voyage!

Taegan, our Junior Designer, just left for Europe. We’re all so excited for her. She’s flying into Amsterdam to meet up with her sister. The girls will tour Amsterdam, Bruges then head to Paris and Barcelona.

Euro2

4788963707_a8bcbdf14d_b

5088954592_204c4d1104_z

Euro

5086325483_026545690c_b

Euro3

6919888628_373bd4de52_b

9236022949_404891512f_b

Euro4

5238563196_0b466e519e_b

5237974005_316bb24a0a_b

There’s nothing like Europe – the food, the fashion, the history…it’s going to be such a great trip. There’s so much to learn and see. The world is such a fascinating place, full of so many works of art. It could be an old master at the Rijksmuseum, or coloured tile on a building in Barcelona…there’s inspiration everywhere.

Taegan has promised to let us travel with her. She’s going to post lots of pics on instagram. Follow along and see what she finds. @Karenfrondesign

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”
― Henry Miller

Have a great trip Taegan!


If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.

Karen Fron Interior Design is a Calgary based design firm. We believe that a well functioning and beautiful home makes life better. It’s not about how much you have, it’s about using what you have to create beauty.

Inbox

Image

Throwback Thursday – 5 chairs that changed the design world

Throwback Thursday – 5 chairs that changed the design world

What is it about a chair that can make our hearts flutter?

It’s really just something to sit on, yet it is so much more than that. Chairs have never been defined just by their functional roles, think of the difference between a throne and a bench. A good chair will have you stand back and admire it’s beauty, yet immediately want to walk up and have a seat.

Here are five chairs that have obtained ‘classic’ status, and blur the boundary between furniture and sculpture.

michael thonet’s 214

When Michael Thonet first introduced his bentwood chair in 1859, little did he know that over 150 years later it would still be in production. The ’214′, also called the coffee-house chair, became the first mass produced chair in the world. It has been in continuous production since, with over 50 million chairs produced to date.

marcel breuer’s wassily chair

This revolutionary chair is named after the painter Wassily Kandinsky. The tubular steel frame design was revolutionary and Breuer first got the idea from his bicycle. Made in 1925, this chair became even more popular when 1950′s mass production brought the cost down.

ludwig mies van der rohe’s barcelona chair

In 1929, Mies van der Rohe designed this chair for the German Pavilion at Barcelona. It was intended as seating for the King and Queen. Today this chair is seen in many corporate lobbies and ultra modern homes.

eames lounge chair

Designed for Hollywood film director Billy Wilder in 1956, the Eames Lounge Chair blurs the boundaries between office and home. It is a beautifully comfortable chair, while being simply splendid to look at. Made of luxurious materials, it still is a favourite with many today.

arne jacobsen 3107 chair

Arne Jacobsen was one of the most important contributors to Danish design and Danish modern architecture. He enjoyed worldwide success with his simple but effective chair designs. This chair was inspired by Charles and Ray Eames’ designs and is now one of the most copied chairs in the world.

Always surround yourselves with things that you love. Don’t forget to look for beauty in everyday items, like the simple chair.


If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.

Aside

Throwback Thursdays – Persian Pickles

What’s old is new again, and in this case, what’s really old is once again trending high. The persian pickle motif is also known as the Welsh pear design. The most common name though, is Paisley. Paisley is a teardrop-shaped motif of Persian and Indian origin and has been used since AD224. Wow – that’s really old.

the paisley shoppe

 

avanti fabrics


Paisley shawls, imported during the 17th century, from the East India Company to Europe became the rage. Soon many European countries were copying this centuries old design, but the town of Paisley, Scotland became the foremost producers. Hence the name association.
elledecor

Paisley has influenced many designs around the globe. Paisley became very fashionable during the Victorian times as well dressed men and women wore this pattern. William Morris furthered paisley’s popularity with his wallpapers and through his work, it became known as somewhat bohemian. 
contemporary chair

In the 1960s it was the Beatles who propelled paisley back in fashion. They fuelled the interest in Indian spiritualism and this included the use of colourful paisley designs. 
the paisley shoppe
elle décor

Paisley is one of the most recognizable patterns in the world. We’re seeing it show up again very strong on the runway and in home decor. Considering it’s been around for centuries, it really can be called a classic. 
elle décor
house and home

And just because it’s super old, doesn’t mean it’s old fashioned. Paisley works in all decors and is right at home in classic design as well as modern.


If you would like to make good design a part of your life, email me.

Karen Fron Interior Design is a Calgary based design firm. We believe that a well functioning and beautiful home makes life better. It’s not about how much you have, it’s about using what you have to create beauty.